Friday, October 22, 2010

Did the church really try to change the Sabbath?

Over at Messianic Jewish Musings, Derek Leman writes in defense of Sunday worship and asks Christians with a consciousness of the Jewish roots of Christianity to eliminate "Sunday churches" as a derogatory term.  (He suggests "Supersessionist churches" or perhaps "shallow churches," depending on what your gripe is.)

His post got me thinking.  One comment I hear occasionally is that the Church changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.  Typically the person saying this means the Roman Catholic or Constantinian church.  Their intent is to criticize the church for departing from its Jewish roots in (supposed) Sabbath-keeping.  I think Derek presents a solid case for Sunday worship being an early tradition among the Yeshua-followers.

However, I wonder about the accuracy of that statement I hear: "the Catholic Church changed the Sabbath" or "the Constantinian Church tried to change the Sabbath."  I think these statements are inaccurate or misleading.  I'd like to know whether I'm right!

Consider the following:
  • As far as I know, "changing the date of the Sabbath" wasn't on the agenda at any of the historic church councils.  "We worship on Sunday, not on Saturday" might have been, but not "We are changing the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday."
  • While in English we call the seventh day "Saturday," in Spanish it is called "Sabado"--suggesting that perhaps in Spanish-speaking cultures, the Sabbath was always understood to be on Saturday or "Sabado," even if the the primary Christian worship service was on Sunday.
  • I tried Googling for "When was Sunday first called the Sabbath?"  The following quote seemed to pop up in several places across the 'net:
When was Sunday first called the "Sabbath"?
For many centuries, Christians were clear to distinguish between the Sabbath and Sunday (the Lord's Day), then ...
[Heinrich] Bullinger had a high view of the law, and differed from Calvin regarding the Sabbath. For Bullinger, Sunday was to be observed the same way in principle that the Sabbath was, with Sunday actually becoming the Sabbath for the Christian. Calvin, on the other hand, held that Sunday is not the Sabbath. The Puritans would follow Bullinger on this point.
Leonard Pine www.wrs.edu/Materials for Web Site/Journals/3-2 20Aug-1996/Pine - Heinrich Bullinger.pdf  (broken link!)
This seems to have happened about 1540 A.D., and was the start of the widespread naming of Sunday as the "Sabbath" in Christianity.
Anyone have more facts?  When did Christians begin referring to Sunday as "the Sabbath"?

68 comments:

Aaron said...

For what it's worth, the Westminster Confession (17th c.) explicitly declares Sunday the Christian Sabbath. (WC 21:7) I know this doesn't bring you closer to the origin of the belief, but it may explain why it is so widespread.

Yahnatan said...

Thanks for pointing that out, Aaron...point for you!

For the record, here's the exact text of WC 21:7


VII. As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in His Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, He has particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week: and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which, in Scripture, is called the Lord's Day, and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath.

Michael said...

The contemporary church has mostly distanced itself from the perspective of the Westminister Confession since they don't feel compelled to see it as an obligation, nor, from a biblical perspective, see that God changed the day. At best, it's just the Lord's Day observance they seem to have in mind and just give a nod to the Sabbath for any principle of rest they might be inclined to keep. D. A. Carson's book on the subject has this in much greater detail.

Judah Gabriel Himango said...

I'm not sure there's a "We, the Universal Church, hereby declare it changed" kind of statement. However, that's not usually the way things work.

There are declarations from Constantine ordering the empire to cease all work on Sunday:

On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.

-Constantine, dies Solis decree, March 7th, 321CE


And of course later, at the Council of Nicaea,

We ought not therefore to have anything in common with the Jew, for the Saviour has shown us another way; our worship following a more legitimate and more convenient course, the order of the days of the week. And consequently in unanimously adopting this mode, we desire, dearest brethren to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jew.

I dunno, I think it's fairly accurate to say that Constantine "changed" the sabbath through legal decrees, such as dies Solis which mandated rest on the Sun-day, and through religious rulings, like Nicaea, which officially sanctioned anti-Semitism and rejecting the "Jewish" holy days, including sabbath.

Judah Gabriel Himango said...

A few more,

"We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."

-Peter Guierman, The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (1957 ed.)


From another Catholic author,

"The Divine institution of a day of rest from ordinary occupations and of religious worship, transferred by the authority of the (Catholic) Church from the Sabbath, the last day, to Sunday the first day of the week, . . . is one of the most patent signs that we are a Christian people."

-James Cardinal Gibbons, The Cross and the Flag, Our Church and Country


And another:

"Nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or the Apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath Day, that is the 7th day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the Catholic Church outside the Bible."

-The Catholic Virginian


And from a Catholic cardinal:

"If Protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath Day. In keeping Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic Church."

-Albert Smith, Chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocise of Baltimore


And another:

Protestantism, in discarding the authority of the (Catholic) Church, has no good reason for its Sunday theory, and ought, logically, to keep Saturday as the Sabbath. . . '

-John Golmary Shae, "The Observance of Sunday and Civil Laws for Its Enforcement." The American Catholic Quarterly Review


And another:

"The Catholic Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her Founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant, claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith, has no warrant for observing Sunday. In this matter the Seventh Day Adventist is the only consistent protestant."

-The Catholic Universe Bulletin


Amusing stuff!

Anonymous said...

Two interesting points:

No. 1: Given the remarkable variety of geographically disparate civilizations across history, divided by language, race, creed, etc., it's incredible that all societies everywhere uniformly attest to a seven day week. But it really becomes a mind-blowing fact only if we discard the notion that all mankind at one time shared the Jewish tradition of a seven day cycle before they were dispersed after the incident at Babel.

No. 2: The Hebrew word for seven is the same as the word for rest, and the word for Saturday. So the Spanish you cited is close to the mark. It's fascinating that in their break from the Jewish Bible, Christians have fixed their day of rest (which is meant to commemorate the conclusion of creation) on their calendar coincident with the first day, on which G-d literally began His work of creation. It just goes to show, in one more small but potent example, the extreme degree in which Christianity is really the polar opposite of Torah-based Judaism.

Yahnatan said...

Judah, thanks for the great comments and the quotations you posted. A few responses:

I'm not sure there's a "We, the Universal Church, hereby declare it changed" kind of statement. However, that's not usually the way things work.

Wasn't making "We, the universal church, hereby declare" types of statements exactly the intention of the early creeds and ecumenical councils?

If there's no "we, the universal church" statement on the matter, then I think that is significant. I also want to know what statements do exist. (The Westminster Confession article that Aaron pointed out is a perfect example.) The 20th quotes you posted are definitely the kind of thing I'm looking for. As for the excerpts from Nicaea: it seems we both agree that "Sunday is the new Sabbath" was not actually said.

Anonymous said...

The important points for me concerning Sunday are that nobody seems to dispute that Christ arose on that day. I am pondering the significance of that day a festival day, being Sunday as significant very early on. Perhaps it was originally important what day, that festival was fulfilled in Christ, is because, he reconciled in himself that year, the division between the two ruling sects of over the Jewish people? In other words Sunday itself was not important, Rather that he became the firstfruit from the dead was important. But Sunday as his resurrection just may have taken on significance in that Christ was the first fruit from the dead for both the Sadducees and the Pharisees that particular year? The day of the wave offering and the first fruit offering, sets the count up to pentecost. The two ruling sects had long disagreed over that very day. So, sunday would be a testimony, that Christs work on those festival days were accomplished in a year, that both ecclesiastical calenders agreed? Hence neither sect without witness or excuse, to say Christ had not fulfilled the feast days?

David Rudolph said...

Great question. Eusebius of Caesarea writes in his commentary on Psalm 91 [92] (c. 330 C.E.), "...the Word by the new covenant has changed and transferred the feast of the Sabbath to the rising of the light." Richard Bauckham identifies this text as "the first extant Christian work that claims that the Sabbath has been transferred to Sunday" (Richard Bauckham, "Sabbath and Sunday in the Post-Apostolic Church," in From Sabbath to Lord's Day: A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Investigation [ed. D. A. Carson; Grand Rapids: Academie Books, 1982], 282).

ronitkory said...

what's wrong w/ christians celebrating the "sabbath" on sunday? god gave the ordinance of the 7th day sabbath to israel... and why should they should throw away their 1700 years of tradition away, especially when i can selfishly use it to point out that i'm not christian by not observing it?

James said...

Actually, I was relieved to see that Derek's blog post wasn't specifically directing Gentiles to worship on Sunday while reserving a Shabbat rest for Jewish people. In fact, the article was very even-handed.

People can (and probably should) worship God constantly, every day of the week. While I prefer to gather with like minded believers on the Saturday Sabbath, there's nothing that keeps me to worshiping with Christians in a church on Sunday either.

That said, I've met people on both sides of the fence who seem very dogmatic about their day being the "right" day.

Judah Gabriel Himango said...

Yahnatan,

>> "Wasn't making "We, the universal church, hereby declare" types of statements exactly the intention of the early creeds and ecumenical councils?"

Sure, declarations of faith.

Changes or shifts, however, take time. The sabbath was a shift away. You see it taking place years before the Nicaea. By the time Nicaea came around, it was clear to the Roman church that Christians should "separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jew" when it came to feasts and the order of the week.

Perhaps it is for this reason there wasn't a "Oh, we changed it" kind of statement, but instead the "of course we don't follow the ugly Jews!" statements that came out of Nicaea.

jonroush said...

ronit- I don't think that anyone is disagreeing with you.

derek4messiah.wordpress.com said...

Anonymous, you said: "all societies everywhere uniformly attest to a seven day week."

I guess you mean that in our modern world, virtually every nation uses a calendar based on a seven day week. You posit that this is a hold-over from prior to the Tower of Babel incident.

Not so at all. The Romans did not have a seven day week. It was far from universal prior to Ancient Israel (I've read in Cassuto that seven days had significance in some ways in Mesopotamia, but not as a calendar division).

In other words, Judaism passed a seven-day week to Christianity (notice the New Testament has no word for week, since Romans and Greeks didn't have one, and so the word Sabbath means week in some contexts). Christianity spread a seven-day week to the world and even non-Christian nations joined in the practice of adopting the Judeo-Christian calendar.

Derek Leman

orgadol said...

Judah,

I've seen your quotes verbatim before from Seventh-Day Adventist family friends, they've made their rounds through the Sabbatarian world.

20th century Catholic scholarship, especially in materials intended for catechesis, promoted what had become part of the modern Catholic narrative: the Catholic Church in the Ecumenical Councils changed the Sabbath to Sunday. (This makes a nice polemical argument against Protestants: "see, you already acknowledge Tradition as an authority, why not be consistent about it?")

Yet this picture is largely unsupported by more recent historical scholarship (including Protestant scholarship) into what happened and when and by whom and how early. I find the idea of modern Catholic apologists and Sabbatarians as bedfellows slightly amusing.

Jonathan said...

@Derek what about hebdamados in Daniel? Is that not a greek word for week?

Judah Gabriel Himango said...

Hi Ovadia,

You believe the Catholics invented this story, and that modern scholarship supports this.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Another issue: I did not reference only 20th century Catholics. I think the 4th century quotes show quite plainly that the "don't work on the sabbath" law had already been transferred to the day of the Sun, and that when Nicaea came around, it was no great feat to distance Christianity from the Jewish order of the weeks and seasons. No scary Catholics-made-this-up conspiracy theories required.

Anonymous said...

Derek,

Throughout human history, there appear to have been a very few (less than 10), generally short-lived, aberrations to the general rule of humanity throughout its existence that a week is defined as a seven day period. Almost all of these were instituted as "reforms" to the pre-existing seven-day cycle.

So, while you're free to understand the rule according only to its exceptions if you choose, the point remains that you, a gentile Christian missionary, acknowledge that your concept of a seven day week is rooted in the creation narrative in the Jewish Bible. While there's no broad agreement your Christian bible is a truthful revelation, almost all of humanity recognizes that G-d gave the Jewish Bible to the Jews. I find that to be profound in its support for Judaism; less so in its support for Christianity.

Thanks for engaging in dialog with me here, since you refuse to allow my views to appear in response to you on your own blog.

orgadol said...

Judah,

I'm not screaming conspiracy theory, I'm just saying that over time people change the way they view processes.

Your first quote from Nicea does not say anything about the Sabbath already being kept. It just commands rest on Sunday as part of the thrust of Christianizing the empire (Christians rest on Sunday, so should everyone). If anything, it implies Sunday was already generally a day of rest for Christians. Your second quote is not about the date of the weekly Sabbath at all, but about the timing of Easter relative to Passover (the Quartodeciman controversy). Context...

Also, I didn't say it was made up. The way history is viewed changes over time. You didn't actually cite sources from the time at hand that were relevant to the question, and to give one example of how the "the Church legislated the change in the Sabbath" view has faded: it's absent from the current Catechism of the Catholic Church. Give me some time and I'll get some of the quotes on the historiography aspect.

As for the original issue, Ignatius in the early second century in his Epistle to the Magnesians describes Jews who have converted to Christianity and exchanged the Sabbath for the Lord's Day, indicating that this exchange is at least that old and predates Constantine, the papacy, or any church council.

orgadol said...

*get some more references on...

Yahnatan said...

Judah and Ovadia:

I'm glad my post has prompted your discussion. Judah, to respond to your call for more evidence, I'd like to humbly submit the article David Rudolph cited (by Richard Bauckham) as worthy of your consideration. It can be found in a book entitled From the Sabbath to the Lord's Day (a book which looks to me like a must-read for anyone making claims about the early church and the Sabbath).

In the article, Bauckham extensively surveys of early Christian sources in order to trace early Christian understandings of Sabbath and the Lord's day. The amount of material Bauckham covers in 45 pages is pretty astonishing. Given that all this material from the first four centuries exists and is available for our study, it seems short-sighted to draw any firm conclusions without considering it.

Judah Gabriel Himango said...

>> "While there's no broad agreement your Christian bible is a truthful revelation, almost all of humanity recognizes that G-d gave the Jewish Bible to the Jews."

LOL!

Here's reality: most of the secular world thinks all religions are basically the same, atheists think we're all delusional, members of other religions generally think other religions are false.

This idea that "everyone agrees God gave the Bible to the Jews" is so...delusional. I can hardly understand the preconditioning and seclusion required to arrive at such a distorted reality.

Judah Gabriel Himango said...

@Ovadia,

>> "Your first quote from Nicea does not say anything about the Sabbath already being kept. It just commands rest on Sunday as part of the thrust of Christianizing the empire (Christians rest on Sunday, so should everyone)."

You are misunderstanding me. I did not say Constantine changed it out of thin air. It's why I said, "Changes or shifts, however, take time. The sabbath was a shift away. You see it taking place years before Nicaea. By the time Nicaea came around, it was clear to the Roman church that Christians should "separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jew" when it came to feasts and the order of the week.

If anything, Constantine, as the first Christian emperor, codified this change. Set it in stone. Made it official. He did this not by saying, "Hey, we've changed the sabbath!" There was no need, because the shift had already taken place. Instead, he set into law rest on Sunday, then issued religious decrees outlawing the Old Testament feasts and order of the week, which presumably includes the sabbath.

>>"Your second quote is not about the date of the weekly Sabbath at all, but about the timing of Easter relative to Passover (the Quartodeciman controversy). Context..."

I used that statement because it's relevant to this discussion: religious rulings coming out of Nicaea that officially sanctioned the church's replacement of Biblical holy days with Christian counterfeits. Sabbath had already shifted away from Sat to Sunday. The Roman state/church merely codified it.

Perhaps the problem is in precision of our words. Saying, "Constantine changed the sabbath to Sunday" isn't precisely accurate. Perhaps a more correct and precise statement is, "Constantine outlawed most Jewish practices, including sabbath keeping, and his religious councils made an heretic any person who kept the Biblical sabbath."

Perhaps we can find common ground there?

Anonymous said...

Thought I would add to Ovadia’s comments on clarifying one of Judah’s quotes. The quote regarding Sunday being a day of rest was not from the Nicea Council but from legislation promulgated by Constantine in 324. It was broad and “inclusive’ and could be seen to be throwing a bone not only to Christians but to devotees of the Sun, although Constantine’s personal allegiance was with Christianity at this point.
I do think that Judah’s statement regarding common ground is one I could agree with.
I don’t have the sources at hand, but there is evidence that even the early Jewish “church” celebrated the Lord’s Day either on Saturday after sundown or Sunday. In all likelihood after observance of the Sabbath according to their normal practice. Not hard to sketch out the development from that beginning to the ultimate evolution of the Church especially the Church of the Gentiles. I would say the rationalization of the theology of it could shift as a development of doctrine.

Todd

Anonymous said...

Actually on Judah's common statement - not sure that Constantine "outlawed", i.e. made illegal under state law, most jewish practices - if that is what you meant Judah.

But he certainly threw his support behind the anti-judaic tendencies in the 4th century Church.

Todd

Judah Gabriel Himango said...

Fair enough.

Constantine's ruling that Christians ought have "nothing in common with the murderers of our Lord", and "no single point in common with the perjury of the Jews" is the bottom line here. I would imagine he made no exception when it came to sabbath keeping. And whether religious ruling or secular law, it probably made little practical difference.

Yahnatan said...

Judah:

You wrote: Perhaps the problem is in precision of our words. Saying, "Constantine changed the sabbath to Sunday" isn't precisely accurate. Perhaps a more correct and precise statement is, "Constantine outlawed most Jewish practices, including sabbath keeping, and his religious councils made an heretic any person who kept the Biblical sabbath."

Perhaps we can find common ground there?


Common ground identified. Can I try to recap and see if you agree? Here goes:

We've seen statements from the Christian church (first from the WCF, courtesy of Aaron; second from 20th Catholic materials, HT: Judah) claiming that the church changed the Sabbath from Sunday. However, we haven't yet been able to identify any explicit statements from pre-medieval Christians claiming that the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday.

However, there is no shortage of anti-Jewish sentiment to be found even in the most official, universal statements such as those made at the Council of Nicaea. These statements explicitly prohibit Christians from observing Jewish practices at the cost of excommunication.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yahnatan said...

All,

I've appreciated the way the dialogue has been conducted so far. I'm not into censoring dialogue, but one thing I don't like is anything which could be construed as a personal attack. Let's continue to find ways to establish common ground, as well as delineate our disagreements, in a spirit of equity and charity.

Yahnatan said...

Anonymous, I'm sorry to cut your comment, as you had some substantial points in there as well, and I hate for anyone to feel like they put effort into something only to have it just disappear. I still have your comment, and would be willing to send it to you privately in case you wanted to reword and resubmit.

Judah Gabriel Himango said...

@Yahnatan,

Almost. Eusebius' commentary, which Rudolph already posted, appears to be such a claim, no?

Here's another one, an earlier one, from Ignatius:

Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner, nor rejoice in days of idleness; for “he that does not work shall not eat."

Let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s Day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days of the week. Looking forward to this, the prophet declared, "To the end, for the eighth day."


That bit is from Ignatius' letter to the Magnesians, written in the early 2nd century. (Wow!)

Judah Gabriel Himango said...

Anon,

I realize now my comment was not helpful, but insulting. I apologize.

You believe "almost all of humanity" agrees the Tenakh was given by God, and, by contrast, almost no one believes the same of the New Testament. I think that view is not based in reality.

Nonetheless, I apologize for the insulting tone of the post above.

Yahnatan said...

Judah:

You wrote: "Here's another one, an earlier one, from Ignatius..."

As I understand the Ignatius quote, I don't see a claim of the Sabbath being changed. Rather, I read him as claiming that the (7th day) Sabbath has been superceded by the (8th day) Lord's Day. (Notice how he says "Let us no longer keep the Sabbath...let us keep the Lord's Day.")

But before that you wrote: "Almost. Eusebius' commentary, which Rudolph already posted, appears to be such a claim, no?"

Yes, you're right...and I've been careless (to my shame)! Bauckham does call the Eusebius quote (from 330 CE) "the first extant Christian work which claims the Sabbath has been transferred to Sunday." I'd say that's a pretty convincing answer to my question. So unless someone wants to challenge Bauckham, it's case closed.

Well, almost. Bauckham gives an important caveat. After presenting the statement in its fuller context (from his commentary on Psalm 91, or 92 in English versions), Bauckham notes "the care with which Eusebius avoids the idea of inactivity on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was devoted to the service of God and to works pleasing to God...analagous to the activity of the priests on the Mosaic Sabbath; it is the service of God in worship. It is this priestly activity of worship that has been transferred from the Sabbath to Sunday." Bauckhams adds that "his [Eusebius's] principle is not a day free from work but a day devoted to the service of God."

I think these observations about Eusebius's statements on the Sabbath (along with 49.5 other pages of analysis of different patristic writing on the Sabbath, including Ignatius!) are what enable Bauckham to state in his concluding sentence: "In spite of Constantinian legislation, it is clear that true Sabbatarianism was a medieval, not a patristic development."

Like I said, that's 100 words out of a fifty page essay, so I hope you don't take my proof-texting from Bauckham as the last word on the matter, but read the paper (and even the book!) for yourself. (To whoever does this: do us all a favor and blog about it!)

In any case, it does seem that the literal sense of my original question is met by Eusebius's statement; however, even in that case, Eusebius also redefines "Sabbath" to something other than what it was understood to be in the Second Temple Period--in keeping with the general patristic disdain for "Jewish idleness."

Anonymous said...

One final test posting:

The last two comments I submitted in response to Judah's direct comment to me have not appeared here. This is to test whether my posts have been blanket blocked or are subject to erasure only when they contain subject matter contrary to the blogger's religious outlook.

Anonymous said...

Since my last comment was approved, though it contained no information and was only a test posting, and my previous two comments to Judah that were part of a conversation have been stricken...I'm baffled about the blog owner's control policies and don't know how to reply to comments directed toward me. I'm afraid to answer, because my answers are being censored. Should I make a third attempt to reply to Judah?

Yahnatan said...

Anony,

I only cut one comment (above, 4:07pm, Oct 28)--and that was not because its subject matter was contrary to my religious outlook, but specifically because I found one particular remark, directed at an individual, to be particularly objectionable. (Although, as evidenced by the apology above, the remark may not have been unprovoked.)

I don't know what happened to your second comment.

Sorry my control policies are not clear to you. I would have contacted you directly about this, but unfortunately you don't provide any contact info. I'm willing to repost your initial comment sans the first paragraph--or you can try reposting again.

I just don't want to see people attacking each other--stick to content over ad hominem, please!

Anonymous said...

Yahnatan,

I'll take you at your word that you deleted only one of my comments, even though two have disappeared, and that you did so in the mistaken belief I'd addressed another participant in this discussion inappropriately, despite the evidence that it was the other commenter who'd addressed me inappropriately without censure from you.

This is a public discussion board, so I can think of no reason why our taking it offline privately is in its spirit. I do appreciate your concern for the decorum here, with an exchange of incompatible ideas not devolving into personal attacks, but I think you ought to have applied that standard to others who attacked me personally before imposing the standard on my response to that attack. The way you've reacted is what logic books describe as a "double standard", which is not appropriate. As to your refusal to tolerate ad hominem arguments, which have nothing to do with the degree of respectfulness in the tone with which arguments are communicated, you're out of step with modern philosophy (see, for instance, "Reason and Argument", P.T. Geach, University of California Press, 1976, p. 27, "bad old logic books even speak of the ad hominem fallacy. But an ad hominem argument may be perfectly fair play.").

Brock said...

Hi all

I just ran across this post (from derek4messiah's site), and I thought you might find it interesting that in the official Catholic ecclesiastical Latin usage, Saturday is still 'Sabbato'. The days of the week in order are Dominica, Feria II, Feria III, Feria IV, Feria V, Feria VI and Sabbato.

Yahnatan said...

Anonymous,

You wrote: "The way you've reacted is what logic books describe as a 'double standard,' which is not appropriate."

I'm sorry that my response to you seemed more severe. Like I said, if I had been able to reach you directly, your experience might have been a little different. Perhaps you can chalk it up to the cost of being anonymous?

As for ad hominem arguments: I'm not saying ad hominem arguments are necessarily fallacious, only that I don't care for the tone in which they're commonly expressed. But I think your perception is correct: what I'm really calling for is simply a certain degree of respectfulness in tone. Generally you're well above the line in that department...

My offer to send you or repost an excerpted version of your original comment still stands.

Yahnatan said...

Brock,

Thanks for commenting and adding a helpful observation!

Aharon (Athol Bloomer) said...

The Coptic orthodox Churches of Egypt and Ethiopia kept both the Sabbath and the Lord's day- the Ethiopians still do to this day. Catholics keep Sunday as the Day of the Eucharist because it states in the New Testament that it was on the first day of the week that they met to celebrate the Eucharist (breaking of the bread). The Catholic Church taught that Gentiles didn't need to keep a separate Jewish Sabbath so it is only logical that they would transfer any Sabbath rest customs to Sunday as the Lord's Day as people couldn't afford to have two days rest a week once Constantine made Sunday a day of Rest. That the Catholic Church still refers to Saturday as the Sabbath is demonstrated in the Sabbatine privilege connected with the brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt Carmel where one who wears the Scapular with certain dispositions and practices is guaranteed to leave purgatory on the first Saturday after their death. Saturday is a day Catholics honour with special Marian devotions uniting with Mary in her death vigil on the Sabbath after Jesus burial as she awaited the Resurrection.

Anonymous said...

You ought to re-post the entirety of the comment you've stricken, since you have not stricken other comments here that specifically violated the reason you claimed you struck the subject comment.

Your failure to re-post the stricken comment is thus an example of a double standard. If you don't have a double standard, then re-post.

Yahnatan said...

Anon,

I've been waiting for you to tell me whether you wanted me to repost your comment or just wanted to repost. Since you've asked me to do the former, I will!

Yahnatan said...

This was from Anonymous on Oct 28:

Judah Gabriel,

The reality is that the West is not nearly post-religious to the extent you portray it, and as an American you live at the epicenter of Western religiosity. You are a member of a two-billion strong Christian faith community, that is fractured into countless sects that cannot agree on the nature of G-d, His expectations of man, or how many times He changed His mind. The one thing Christians can all agree on, however, is that G-d gave the Jewish Bible to the Jewish people at Sinai.

And in the rest of the world, we find more fracture...and unity. There are also two billion Muslims split into a handful of violently disagreeing theological groups. In India there are a billion Hindus who join with Christendom and Islam in vehement disagreement over the nature of G-d, His expectations of man, and how many times He changed His mind. The one thing the majority of humanity can all agree on is that G-d gave the Jewish Bible to the Jewish people at Sinai.

Yahnatan said...

Aharon,

Thanks for chiming in--please continue to do so!

Yahnatan

Anonymous said...

All:

Please be advised that the posting Yahnatan credited to me is not the one I submitted. He has edited my entry to such an extent that I can no longer claim to be it's author. Note that he has not done likewise to any of you.

Yahnatan said...

Anonymous,

I must confess, I'm surprised by your reaction. (Maybe you're thinking of your mysterious second posting, which I never saw?)

The only edit I applied to this comment was removing the first sentence--an attack on Judah which I personally found offensive and made clear to you that I would remove.

All the words I posted are yours. You should take ownership of them and be proud of them--they're not so bad that you need to try to pawn them off on me!

Judah Gabriel Himango said...

Anon,

Your first post suggested that, because other world religions accept the Tenakh, Judaism is a "truthful revelation". (Contrasted with Christianity, which you seem to think doesn't have its holy books validated by other religions.)

Having another religion validate your holy book does not make it truthful revelation. If it did, Christianity would also be truthful, seeing how religions like Mormonism are built atop it.

If "what other people believe" validates your religion, it is you, not I, who is in trouble: Christianity largely believes the Torah is obsolete, Islam largely believes the Tenakh was redacted and corrupted by Jewish scribes, and the secular world largely adheres to the JEDP theory of Torah composition, thinks our prophets were crazy religious nutters, King David a mere tribal chieftain of a small band of squabbling Semites, Israel a tiny fiefdom with a prominent blood sacrifice cult at its center.

When you look at it that way, about 0.001% of the world sees things as you do. :-) And that's not counting the sects and fractures within Judaism.

So please, let's not pretend we're in a fantasy world where everyone validates Tenakh and Judaism. But you and I, we have some common ground, as we both believe the Tenakh is a truthful document. The biggest difference between us is that I believe Messiah already showed up and did an amazing work which has led to billions of people following the God of Israel. :-)

Aharon (Athol Bloomer) said...

No you are wrong anon. Everyone doesn't agree that the Jewish Bible was given to the Jewish people on Sinai. Millions of liberal Christians, Jews and Muslims believe it is just a myth.

Also Islam not only acknowledges the Torah of the Jews but also the Gospels of the Christians eventhough they believe Jews and Christians have changed certain texts in their holy books. Muslims like Catholics, Eastern orthodox Christians, Coptic, Syrian, Armenian etc believe in and are devoted to a all-holy Virgin Mary (Maryam/ Miriam) who is the highest woman in Heaven.

Aharon (Athol Bloomer) said...

Here is an interesting article on Sunday in the online New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14335a.htm

Aharon (Athol Bloomer) said...

"The practice of meeting together on the first day of the week for the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice is indicated in Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; in Apocalypse 1:10, it is called the Lord's day. In the Didache (14) the injunction is given: "On the Lord's Day come together and break bread. And give thanks (offer the Eucharist), after confessing your sins that your sacrifice may be pure". St. Ignatius (Ep. ad Magnes. ix) speaks of Christians as "no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord's Day, on which also Our Life rose again". In the Epistle of Barnabas (xv) we read: "Wherefore, also, we keep the eight day (i.e. the first of the week) with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead"...These and similar indications show that during the first three centuries practice and tradition had consecrated the Sunday to the public worship of God by the hearing of the Mass and the resting from work. With the opening of the fourth century positive legislation, both ecclesiastical and civil, began to make these duties more definite. The Council of Elvira (300) decreed: "If anyone in the city neglects to come to church for three Sundays, let him be excommunicated for a short time so that he may be corrected" (xxi). In the Apostolic Constitutions, which belong to the end of the fourth century, both the hearing of the Mass and the rest from work are prescribed, and the precept is attributed to the Apostles. The express teaching of Christ and St. Paul prevented the early Christians from falling into the excesses of Jewish Sabbatarianism in the observance of the Sunday, and yet we find St. Cæsarius of Arles in the sixth century teaching that the holy Doctors of the Church had decreed that the whole glory of the Jewish Sabbath had been transferred to the Sunday, and that Christians must keep the Sunday holy in the same way as the Jews had been commanded to keep holy the Sabbath Day. He especially insisted on the people hearing the whole of the Mass and not leaving the church after the Epistle and the Gospel had been read. He taught them that they should come to Vespers and spend the rest of the day in pious reading and prayer. As with the Jewish Sabbath, the observance of the Christian Sunday began with sundown on Saturday and lasted till the same time on Sunday. ..The obligation of rest from work on Sunday remained somewhat indefinite for several centuries. A Council of Laodicea, held toward the end of the fourth century, was content to prescribe that on the Lord's Day the faithful were to abstain from work as far as possible. At the beginning of the sixth century St. Caesarius, as we have seen, and others showed an inclination to apply the law of the Jewish Sabbath to the observance of the Christian Sunday. The Council held at Orléans in 538 reprobated this tendency as Jewish and non-Christian. From the eight century the law began to be formulated as it exists at the present day, and the local councils forbade servile work, public buying and selling, pleading in the law courts, and the public and solemn taking of oaths. There is a large body of civil legislation on the Sunday rest side by side with the ecclesiastical. It begins with an Edict of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, who forbade judges to sit and townspeople to work on Sunday. He made an exception in favour of agriculture. The breaking of the law of Sunday rest was punished by the Anglo-Saxon legislation in England like other crimes and misdemeanours. After the Reformation, under Puritan influence, many laws were passed in England whose effect is still visible in the stringency of the English Sabbath. Still more is this the case in Scotland..."

Anonymous said...

Judah,

You wrote that "Having another religion validate your holy book does not make it truthful revelation." I agree with you on that point.

But having everyone from all sorts of religions (excepting atheists, of course!) all agreeing on the fact that G-d gave the Jewish Bible to Israel is something that should give us all pause, especially since none of the other world religions enjoy a similar unanimity as to the truthfulness of their own disparate texts. That is one more clue about the uniqueness of the credibility of Judaism as opposed to, say, Christianity. As you correctly pointed out Christians largely view the Jewish Bible as obsolete, which is really very odd given Christians' simultaneous belief that G-d gave the Jewish Bible to Israel and given the Jewish Bibles' own insistence that it will never become obsolete!

I want to take a moment to correct a couple of your facts.

First, you mischaracterized Mormonism as not a Christian faith. You may have your own reasons for being bigoted against Mormons, but that does not afford you the right to literally bend our English language to your own liking. The meaning of the word "Christian" means following Jesus' teachings. It is up to the Mormons, and not you, to decide if they believe that they are following Jesus' teachings, and they believe that they are. They are every bit as Christian as you are. (This is a fine case-in-point example of what I was talking about--both non-Mormon and Mormon Christians agree that G-d gave the Jewish Bible to Israel, but the two groups can't even decide on how many times He changed His mind about it.)

Second, you wrote of "our prophets". Let's be clear: the prophets of the Jewish Bible were Jews, like me. Not like you. They were not "our" prophets. They are "my" prophets.

Third and finally, you wrote that I am "in a fantasy world where everyone validates Tenakh and Judaism." I suspect you are sophisticated enough to know that statement is false, and that I by no means extend to you credit for believing the central tenets of Judaism (oneness of G-d, sinfulness of worshiping a man, individual responsibility, etc.), but in case you're not let me be explicit: I don't think most of the world "validates" or otherwise is willing to positively deal with what it means that G-d gave the Torah to the Jews. I only recognize that they all admit that the fact is He did.

Judah Gabriel Himango said...

>> having everyone agreeing on the fact that G-d gave the Jewish Bible to Israel is something that should give us all pause...

Except that it's not true. Judaism is not unique in having its holy books recognized by other religions. Even if it were, you yourself concede it would not prove it's a truthful revelation.

>> First, you mischaracterized Mormonism as not a Christian faith.

Ok. You mischaracterize Messianic Judaism as not a Judaism.

>> It is up to the Mormons, and not you, to decide if they believe that they are following Jesus' teachings, and they believe that they are

Ok. It is up to Messianic Jews, not you, to decide if they believe that they are following the Tenakh, and we believe we are.

>> Let's be clear: the prophets of the Jewish Bible were Jews, like me

Ok. And Moshe was a Jew like me.

>> I only recognize that they all admit that the fact is He did.

Again, that's not reality. Do you know what Islam says about the Torah? That the Torah, as it stands today, is corrupted by Jews and not an authentic document. And for what it's worth, the good that Islam says of the so-called original Torah, it also says good of the gospels:

"It is He Who has sent down the Book (the Qur'an) to you with truth, confirming what came before it. And He sent down the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)."

Your statements that Islam recognizes the Torah as given to Israel are not entirely factual. Islam recognizes *a* Torah given to Israel, (and additionally, a gospel given to Israel), the Torah, they say, is corrupted by Jewish scribes and is not trustworthy or to be revered.

Ironically, the only major group outside of Judaism upholding the Torah as a truthful document are the people you are trying to repudiate: Christians.

Anonymous said...

Judah,

Most of what you've written in response to my facts are snarky personal zings or retreads of your early comments which I've since dispelled, so I'm not going to continue this dance with you. We'll just let the record of our comments and responses to one another stand. I'm comfortable with that.

The one point you made, above, that was new, I will address.

You claim that just as Moses was a Jew, so too are you. That statement is false. Moses was a Jew because his mother was a daughter of a daughter of a daughter...of Jacob. For the same reason, I too am a Jew. You see, to be a member of the Jewish family, you have to have membership according to that family's rules, and not the ones you make up on your own. Now, it is possible for gentiles, like you, to become Jewish, to become a member of the family of Jacob, but that again can only be accomplished by the rules the children of Israel hold to, and not the grafted olive tree baloney that Christians made up for the Israel.

Everyone who follows the Jewish tradition believes that Moses is a Jew, and that you are not. You only believe that you are a Jew because you reject the Jewish tradition. That does not make you a Jew.

Aharon (Athol Bloomer) said...

Anon you said

"Everyone who follows the Jewish tradition believes that Moses is a Jew, and that you are not. You only believe that you are a Jew because you reject the Jewish tradition. That does not make you a Jew."



Not sure I am following you. As far as I know anyone who is of maternal Jewish ancestry or has converted or their maternal Jewish ancestor converted according to Halakah are Jewish. Who is rejecting the Jewish tradition? I certainly believe that the Torah was given by God at Sinai in both Written and oral forms. HOwever many Jews do not. Are they still Jewish? According to halakah they are. trhus if Jews believe in Jesus they are still Jewish-nu?

Anonymous said...

I want to take you seriously, Athol. I really do.

But you've coupled your protestation that you abide by "Halakah" in accordance with "Jewish tradition" (even including its "oral form") with a self portrait tailored to prominently exhibit your having cut off the hair on the side of your head (Lev. 19:27).

When a person goes out of their way to take a breathtakingly obvious stand in the most public way possible that they reject Jewish religious law, and then exclaim that such is the very code that they live by (and punctuate their claim with a gratuitous "nu", no less), they reveal a degree of irrationality with which one cannot hope to reason.

So, rather than try to reason with you, I'm simply going to recite a fact, and I'll leave it up to you to try or fail at digesting it: Judah Gabriel may have a Jewish father or a Jewish wife or a Jewish pen pal, but as you correctly stated he would only meet the Jewish definition for being a Jew if his mother could trace a direct maternal heritage to Jacob or to a woman who converted into the Jewish people in accordance with Jewish standards and procedures.

Judah Gabriel Himango said...

Anon,

I'm glad to have helped you retreat from your earlier erring assertions, which you have now abandoned.

You question my identity as a Jew. Ok. You can read my blog. I'm a transparent person and have talked plainly about this. Unlike you, I post with my real name and am not secretive about my identity. :-)

Judah Gabriel Himango said...

A fine shabbat to all you folks contributing to God's kingdom on earth. Signing off for awhile.

Anonymous said...

Judah wrote (of me): "I'm glad to have helped you retreat from your earlier erring assertions, which you have now abandoned." For the record, Judah did not "correct" me, he just repeated his errors and emphasized his incorrect positions. I stand by each of the points I've published here; there's no retreat.

Judah wrote (of himself): "You question my identity as a Jew. Ok. You can read my blog. I'm a transparent person...". The "About" section of Judah's blog, though, includes only the following peculiarly opaque sentence: "Husband, dad, disciple of Yeshua, Messianic blogger, music lover, guitarist, software developer, and all-around nerd." Sentient readers ought to examine that description with one question in mind: why hasn't Judah, the self-described transparent Jew, included any information that could illuminate whether or not he's Jewish, as he claims to be, in accordance with the Jewish understanding of the term? And just how transparent can he be if he's hiding something? And if he's hiding something while describing himself as transparent, what does that imply about the credibility of the rest of what he's preaching? These are the questions you should be mulling over as you examine his statements.

Judah Gabriel Himango said...

Ok, ok, I confess. Sorry, guys. Truth is, I didn't list my race on my profile page because I am hiding a deep, dark secret.

I'm actually a Zimbabwean Aboriginal from Finland. Also, I'm part of the Illuminati Oligarchy. And the NWO. (That's New World Order, for you uninformed pawns of the system.) And I've been sent here by the Catholic Church to covertly proselytize the Jews! Oh, yes!

Argggh! Why did this have to come to light! Damn you, anonymous, you uncovered me! And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for you meddling trolls...

Really signing off this time. :-)) Shabbat shalom from this secret ugly Zimbabwean gentile.

Aharon (Athol Bloomer) said...

Anon you are funny. That picture of me was when I was 21 years old and a punk- before I became an observant Jew. If you read my blog article 'From Punk to Hebrew Catholic" you would have realised that.

Aharon (Athol Bloomer) said...

Another point Anon. one may believe in Halakah but not be as observant as they hope to be one day. It is part of the sin of lashon hara to comment on a fellow Jews level of observance anyway. A Tzaddik who saw my picture you could have assumed I had a operation on my head or my hair got burnt off in a fire (haha).

Anonymous said...

Athol,

Given your self-description as a "Hebrew Catholic", I can see your point that I ought to have assumed you need to have your head examined!

Anonymous said...

I hope that people will take a critical and sober look at Judah's last comment, above. If you can see through the sarcasm and the attempt to deflect with humor, there is an implicit admission that he is not Jewish, and has no basis to support his claim to be a Jew.

And yet, he will not come right out and state the truth.

Take that into account as you assess the honesty and truthfulness behind his religious prescriptions for the Jews.

Aharon (Athol Bloomer) said...

Anon we have no proof that you are a Jew for that matter. That you are a very unpleasant person lacking in common courtesy and respect for others we have plenty of evidence. It is one thing to disagree with someone another to be personally rude.

Anonymous said...

Athol,

Two things:

First, the correctness of my comments is in no way tied to my personal background. But for gentile Christian missionaries, establishing bona fides in order to preach to Jews is Job One. And to get to the bottom of the credibility of those preachy missionaries, the first thing we need to do is examine their claims to be Jewish. That's a Jew's first clue about whether those missionaries are to be believed.

And second, I'd appreciate an apology from you for the incredibly hostile attack that constituted the majority of your last posting (which we can note Yahnatan elected not to suppress or modify).

Yahnatan said...

While listening to a lecture on the gospel of Peter, I was surprised to hear a reference to "the Sabbath...the Lord's Day," and it made me think of this topic again. It's a little tricky to make sense of the timeline in the account of the crucifixion and resurrection in gospel of Peter, but it seems from vv. 34-35 like "the Sabbath" is also being referred to as "the Lord's Day":


[34] But early when the Sabbath was dawning, a crowd came from Jerusalem and the surrounding area in order that they might see the sealed tomb.

[35] But in the night in which the Lord's day dawned, when the soldiers were safeguarding it two by two in every watch, there was a loud voice in heaven;


There's still no mention of Sunday, only the Lord's Day. (I heard a compelling argument at SBL 2010 in Atlanta that "the Lord's Day" in Rev 1 refers not to Sunday but to the eschatalogical Day of the Lord, so the Lord's Day isn't necessarily Sunday.) Furthermore, the Gospel of Peter seems to have plenty of interest in the Jewish calendar (at the bottom of the excerpt we have, there's a reference to the eighth day of Passover, a more obscure calendrical reference than any we find in the canonical Apostolic Writings, IMO. Ultimately, I don't think this is an example of the church changing Sabbath to Sunday, but still, I thought it was a text worth mentioning.

Yahnatan said...

Update: I got the following quote of Luther on Holy Days from Chaplain Mike over at The Internet Monk:

We therefore have and must have the power and the freedom to observe Easter when we choose; and even if we made Friday into Sunday, or vice versa, it would still be right, as long as it were done unanimously by the rulers and the Christians (as I said before). Moses is dead and buried by Christ, and days or seasons are not to be lords over Christians, but rather Christians are lords over days and seasons, free to fix them as they will or as seems convenient to them. For Christ made all things free when he abolished Moses. However, we will let things remain as they now are, since no peril, error, sin, or heresy is involved, and we are averse to changing anything needlessly or at our own personal whim, out of consideration for others who observe Easter at the same time we do. We know we shall attain salvation without Easter and Pentecost, without Friday and Sunday, and we know that we cannot be damned — as St. Paul teaches us — because of Easter, Pentecost, Sunday, or Friday.

- Luther’s Works, Vol. 41: Church and Ministry III